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Friday, August 24, 2007



Bryan Smart is hoping his Royal Ascot winner Maze can pull off a high-profile Doncaster double this autumn by winning the £100,000 Group Two Urban-i Champagne Stakes on Saturday, September 15, the final day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, before returning to the South Yorkshire track for the Group One Racing Post Trophy on October 27.

Maze heads to the seven-furlong Urban-i Champagne Stakes unbeaten in two starts. After scoring over six furlongs on his debut at Newcastle on June 2, the Dr Fong colt triumphed over the distance at Royal Ascot on June 23, when holding Pegasus Again by a neck in the Listed Chesham Stakes.

Smart, who trains at Hambleton House in North Yorkshire, revealed today: “Maze will definitely be aimed at the Urban-i Champagne Stakes. He’s in great form, looks well and is working well. He’s strengthened since Ascot, which is good, that’s why we’ve given him a little bit more time.

“The form of the Chesham Stakes is working out with the second winning since and I’m very pleased with him.

“The long-term objective is the Racing Post Trophy, so the plan is to see how he is after the Urban-i Champagne Stakes and then return to Doncaster.

“I think he’s a good ground horse. I don’t think Dr Fong’s mind a bit of juice so I’m not going to panic about the going unless it’s flooded. He’s in great form and we’re looking forward to a good run.”

A formidable Irish challenge can be expected for the prestigious Group Two contest, and the David Myerscough-trained Bruges could be one of the 24 entries from the Emerald Isle to make the journey to Town Moor.

Bruges has won both his starts to date and was impressive when taking the seven-furlong Listed Golden Fleece Stakes at Leopardstown on July 4, by two lengths from Going Public.

Myerscough is considering either the Urban-i Champagne Stakes or the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh for the Marju colt, whose grandam is a half-sister to Epsom Derby and King George winner Generous and Irish 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks heroine Imagine.

“The Champagne Stakes is a possibility, although I’m also looking at the Group Two Beresford Stakes over a mile at the Curragh later in September. I’ll see how he is closer to the time and make a firm decision.

“He seems to act on any ground and he showed a lovely tun-of-foot last time at Leopardstown. He seems to be able to be ridden any way. You can do what you like with him - he’s that laid-back - and he’s improving all the time.

“We’ll know more shortly as to whether he’s up to Group Two class but the way he won his Listed race gives me a lot of hope.

“He could be a Guineas and then a Derby horse next year but we’ll see how he goes in his next couple of races. He races as though he’ll get further in time and he has plenty of pace as well. It’s a big step up to a Group Two contest but hopefully he’ll be able to make the grade.”

The fantastic Urban-i Champagne Stakes entry also includes the Aidan O’Brien-trained Group Two winners Henrythenavigator and Lizard Island, the Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained dual Group Two winner Winker Watson, the impressive Saeed bin Suroor-trained Group Two Veuve Clicqout Vintage Stakes winner Rio De La Plata and unbeaten Group One Darley Prix Morny hero Myboycharlie from the Tommy Stack yard.

This year marks the beginning of Urban-i’s sponsorship of the prestigious Group Two Urbani-i Champagne Stakes, which is one of the top juvenile races in the British calendar and has been won over the years by a host of top-class performers.

The brilliant subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner Rodrigo de Triano won the contest in 1991, while other top-class winners in recent times include subsequent champion miler Noverre (2000) and top miler Dubai Destination (2001).

Dubai Destination defeated the record-breaking champion Rock Of Gibraltar when landing the Urbani-i Champagne Stakes. Rock Of Gibralatar went on to win his next seven starts, all at Group One level.

Doncaster Racecourse is delighted to have teamed up with Doncaster based property development company, Urban-i, in what is a major sponsorship deal.

Urban-i is the residential arm of Lazarus Properties, one of South Yorkshire’’s largest and most progressive property development companies.

The five-year deal will see Urban-i sponsoring the new state-of-the-art five-storey grandstand, exhibition and conference centre, which features new restaurants, bars and private boxes –– with panoramic views stretching across the famous Town Moor track.

The new stand will be appropriately named the Urban-i Stand, whilst the exhibition hall will be named The Lazarus Exhibition Hall. In addition, the company has also agreed rights to naming the Grandstand Terrace which will be called The Urban-i Terrace and the fourth floor suite, which enjoys views over the parade ring, will be called The Lazarus Suite.

Urban-i already has a huge presence in Doncaster with an impressive residential portfolio that includes many of town’s leading new developments, such as Rectory Court on Mere Lane, Stone Arches at Sprotborough Road and Hamilton Lodge, which is close to the new Urban-i stand.

Darryl Barker, Director of Urban-i said: "As a Doncaster based company this is a fantastic opportunity for us."

"Along with the other tourist attractions in Doncaster, the development of the racecourse is another great example of Doncaster's recent renaissance."

"Our 5 year sponsorship of the new Urban-i stand demonstrates our on-going commitment to the town and the belief that the current boom will continue well into the future."


The 338th running of the Newmarket Town Plate, the first race to be run in Britain under written rules after it was instituted by Act of Parliament in 1665 by Charles II, will see 14 runners go to post at 5.35pm tomorrow (Saturday). It will be the last race run on the July Course in 2007 as Newmarket's summer season comes to an end.

Historically the race had been run in the second week of October, but because of the July Course redevelopment it moved to August last year where it proved such a resounding success that it has retained that slot this year.

The Town Plate is all about the true amateurs riding the horses and the prizes include vouchers for Golding's outfitters in Newmarket High Street and boxes of Powters' Newmarket sausages.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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